Like most things, the pageantry world was put on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. Originally scheduled for this past spring, the Miss USA 2020 pageant will be held Monday, Nov. 9 in Memphis, Tenn.
Even though we're more than a week before the results come in, Miss Maine USA is already getting a head start on the journey. Julia Van Steenberghe is an Old Town High School graduate and a May 2020 University of Maine graduate. She flew to Tennesse Friday, giving her enough time just in case we had any classic late fall snow.
Since winning the Miss Maine USA crown last year, it's been all preparation for Van Steenberghe.
"Every single day has been different, but every single day has been dedicated for this moment," She added.
With different phases of competition in play during the pageant, Van Steenberghe said she's most excited for the interviews.
"I love the interview portion because I love connecting with people and sharing other people's stories."
Van Steenberghe was on the road to Memphis Friday with plenty of bags packed. In those bags are, of course, changes of clothes, and also her evening gown and swimsuit, two other phases of competition.
"I also just love being up on stage and so in the evening gown and swimsuit, they're both such fun portions of the competition. I don't want to say I have any weaknesses, I'm trying to stay super positive and super strong," she added.
Van Steenberghe, being a Mainer, understands the struggle some of our neighbors face with food insecurity. When she's not training for competition, she helps at local and statewide organizations.
"I am an advocate for those that are food insecure, so I've worked very closely with the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine and different organizations around the state and the nation to raise awareness of food insecurity so that's something I advocate for very heavily," she said.
With Election Day less than a week away, Van Steenberghe was involved in educating Mainers on how to vote and where to vote.
As for what's next, Van Steenberghe is back in school getting her Master's Degree and hopes to work for the Department of Education.